Deutsche Bank, BlackRock among owners in occupation oil hunt

Here are the owners of Delek Group which is behind the oil search offshore occupied Western Sahara. 

13 February 2023

The picture above shows the vessel BGP Prospector (to the right) docked in Las Palmas port, in 2013, after a study for French oil company Total in nearby waters. BGP is Chinese-controlled and has been commissioned twice to map the seafloor offshore Western Sahara. The last time by British company GeoEx in 2017. GeoEx has since been trying to sell the seismic data to the industry. Two Israeli companies in 2022 got licences by the Moroccan government, most recently a subsidiary of Delek Group. 

Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) has obtained a list of the biggest owners of the Israeli oil company Delek Group Limited.

Delek Group is the mother firm of NewMed Energy - which on 6 December 2023 announced that it had obtained a licence for exploring for oil offshore occupied Western Sahara. The company obtained the deal from the Government of Morocco, which is illegally occupying the territory, in violation of international law. 

The company told in a mail to WSRW that it follows all applicable laws, but fails to explain how it has come to that conclusion. 

Registered on the stock exchange in Tel Aviv, the company is partially owned by European and American investors. The shareholders list that WSRW has obtained corresponds, in total, to only 61,9 percent of all the shares of the company. 

Western Sahara Resource Watch calls on all owners of the company to engage with the Delek Group, and to divest from the company if it fails to immediately terminate the agreement it signed with the Moroccan government to look for oil offshore the occupied territory. 

Delek Group has already received criticism for operations on occupied Palestinian land. Some investors, including KLP, have for that reason already excluded the company from its portfolios. 

The Delek Group shareholder overview that WSRW has obtained shows: 

  • 50,2 percent of the shares are owned by Israeli citizen Mr. Yitzhak Tshuva, one of Israel's wealthiest men.
  • The second biggest owner is the Norwegian Government Pension Fund. According to the overview, the Norwegian government controls 2,94 percent of the company, and is the only government body figuring on the list. The Norwegian government investment has grown even further since the shareholders list was produced. According to figures released by the Norwegian government itself on 31 January 2023, the Norwegian ownership had increased to 3,03 percent (55 million Euros) as of 31 December 2022. The Fund has in the past excluded companies from its portfolio for undertaking oil exploration in Western Sahara, calling such operations "an unacceptable risk of the companies contributing to serious violations of fundamental ethical norms through their hydrocarbon exploration", as Morocco is in no position to issue such licences.
  • Deutsche Bank is the 10th biggest owner on the list, with 0,49% of the company's shares.
  • Six US financial companies are invested: Dimensional Holdings (1,17% of the shares), Vanguard Group (1,07%), BlackRock (0,59%), Grantham Mayo van Otterloo & Co (0,46%), The Charles Schwab Corporation (0,16%), Empirical Finance (0,11%).
  • The list contains 9 other named Israeli individuals and companies.


A report from BankTrack from 2021 reveals that other European investors at the time were: BPCE Group (France), Allianz (Germany), Finisterre Capital (UK), Legal & General (UK), Ashmore Group (UK), Colchester Global Investors (UK), ABN Amro (Netherlands), HSBC (UK). It is not known to WSRW whether these are still involved as owners in the company.

The same BankTrack report informs that a number of European financial institutions had provided loans and underwriting services to Delek Group in the period from 2018 to May 2021: BNP Paribas (France), HSBC (UK), Barclays (UK), ABN Amro (Netherlands), Lloyds Banking Group (UK), Deutsche Bank (Germany), SEB (Sweden), NatWest (UK), BBVA (Spain), BPCE Group (France), DNB (Norway), ING Group (Netherlands).

WSRW has also found Delek Group in a portfolio of the Australian government owned Future Fund as of 15 Oct 2021. Delek also appears in the FutureFund portfolios in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2021. 


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